The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to authorize a $5 million settlement in the 2017 Sheriff’s deputy patrol crash on the East Los Angeles-Boyle Heights border, killing two young boys and injuring their mother on a sidewalk.
The vote was made without comment by the board, City News Service reported.
The vehicle was driven by Deputy Carrie Esmeralda Robles-Placencia, then a patrol trainee, with an 11-year-veteran by her side. On Nov. 17 at about 7:25 pm, they were Southbound on Indiana when they received a call about a shooting. They turned on the patrol’s emergency lights –but not the siren– as they approached the intersection with Whittier Blvd.
When an Eastbound bus on Whittier stopped at the intersection, the patrol drove through the red light at 14 mph, attempting to turn East. The patrol was hit by an Eastbound Honda Accord, traveling south of the bus; the Accord spun off and hit another vehicle and the patrol accelerated to 22 mph, jumping the sidewalk and swerving to avoid pedestrians.
Despite the driver’s efforts, the patrol hit five people on the sidewalk –including the mother and two children walking home from school. Seven-year-old José Hernández died at the scene and his 9-year-old brother died from his injuries at a hospital. Their mother, Veronica Solís, had several broken bones. Six other people were injured in the multi-vehicle crash.
In November of 2018 the District Attorney’s Office said that although Robles-Placencia was at fault in the accident because she did not run on the patrol’s siren, there was insufficient evidence to prove she had committed vehicular manslaughter.
At Tuesday’s supervisors’ meeting, county lawyers file a letter asking for authorization for the $5 million settlement, but provided little information beyond the case description: “a multiple-fatality vehicle accident involving an on-duty sheriff’s deputy.”
It was unclear from news reports as to who the plaintiffs are in the case settled Tuesday. Both the boys’ father and the injured mother filed separate lawsuits against the County and the Sheriff’s department in 2018, alleging negligence and reckless driving.
Robles-Placencia, who is assigned to the East Los Angeles Sheriff’s’ station, is mentioned in another lawsuit – a 2019 complaint filed by eight deputies alleging Sheriff Alex Villanueva protects a violent, criminal gang known as the Banditos at that station.
Villanueva, who denies the allegations, announced last month a zero tolerance policy against the so-called deputy cliques – including the Banditos.
The suit by the deputies alleges Robles-Placencia was a “Banditos associate” who was being supervised by a “shot caller” for the gang at the time of the accident.